Supreme Court Justices have their appointments for life, as long as they are exhibiting “good behavior.” A Justice may only be removed through impeachment and that’s only happened once, to Associate Justice Samuel Chase in 1805. They may also retire, and one is about to do just that.
Americans have known since January that one of the liberal Supreme Court Justices planned to retire. His replacement, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson who was appointed by Joe Biden, has already been confirmed. On Wednesday, Justice Breyer sent a letter to the President, telling him of his intention to officially retire on June 30, 2022, at noon, after all of this session’s opinions have been released. Justice Jackson will officially take her seat once she is sworn in.
Justice Jackson will be the first black woman on the High Court and its fourth sitting female Justice on the Court. She will be the 160th member of the Court.
Justice Breyer is 83 years old. He is one of the 4 Justices who voted against overturning Roe v. Wade. He has been on the Supreme Court since 1994 when he was appointed by President Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton tweeted about Justice Breyer’s retirement: “Congratulations to Justice Breyer—a brilliant, thoughtful judge and a great defender of democracy and our Constitution. I will always be proud to have appointed him and deeply grateful for what he has done with his nearly 30 years on the Court.”
This transfer, from Breyer to Jackson, will not affect the balance of ideology on the Court. There will still be 6 conservative Justices and 3 liberal Justices. Are you happy with the current makeup of the Supreme Court?